In 2015, with two hours of brainstorming, three hours of tinkering with a WordPress site, two emails and five Facebook page posts, my son and I created a personal fundraising page for Community Shares of Wisconsin’s Big Share and managed to raise nearly $2500 in less than 24 hours. I wish I could say I knew it would work, but the truth was I followed a series of hunches. Hunches I developed from watching and analyzing the mechanics of successful online giving campaigns. With that research, I offer these three lessons for how to organize content and market a cause to successfully raise money online.
Lesson One: Make Content Personal and Unique
My personal story was simple: New dad wants to teach his son how to give back to others.
Add a unique twist: Son doesn’t know anything about money, so how do I teach him a lesson about fundraising? The hunch was this twist would make my story interesting and memorable, and the fact we were raising money to help improve the lives of LGBTQ kids was a very personal mission.
If you care about a cause, have a point of view and feel passionate about something, put yourself out there. Tell people why this matters to you, put your personal touch on the content and let your personality come out. Nothing moves people to give like personal stories and nothing succeeds in social media channels like personality-driven content.
Lesson Two: Use Deadlines and Milestones Wisely
Recently our team over here at Earthling was analyzing the web analytics dashboard for a client to evaluate their online fundraising efforts. The big takeaway: Nearly 85% of the gifts and over 75% of the money came when the deadline for giving was imminent.
The built-in advantage of a 24-hour timeline is that everything is on a deadline, but don’t overlook the opportunity to breakdown that short time to spur even more action. My personal fundraising page used milestones tied to dollar amounts that helped sustain interest and provided fodder for conversation and intrigue throughout the day.
Lesson Three: Be Present and Share the Love
If you are thankful and excited when people give, show it. Thank them publicly in comments and via tweets, tag them, praise them, and have some fun making people feel appreciated for their support. Sending out content and putting up a fundraising page is only half the game. Make the time throughout the day to moderate, thank and supply more energy to your content after you post. You don’t need to be watching your content every second, but when you’re there make your presence count.
The most fun I had during last year’s Big Share was spending two minutes every hour writing thank you messages on my Facebook posts. The digital forum might be different but my hunch was that everything else remained the same, people appreciate being appreciated.
Speaking of appreciation, Earthling Interactive is honored to be providing support and content strategy training to Community Shares and the 2016 Big Share participating nonprofits.
Contact us if you would like to learn better ways to design, test and improve your digital strategy.